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The Mounting Debate: Do You Buy Accessories to Fit the Rugged Tablet, or Vice Versa?

Mobilizing your business is a mission-critical investment. You are dedicating a significant amount of time and resources to implement a low-risk, high performance mobility solution. But to successfully achieve your desired return on investment and keep your Total Cost of Ownership low from day one, you must employ a smart mobility strategy that enables you to get everything right the first time, barring a bit of fine tuning along the way. It also means you must take painstaking measures not to disrupt business systems or worker productivity in the process. After all, the whole purpose of mobilizing workflows is to improve efficiency and eliminate downtime.

So, you carefully weigh the pros and cons of every decision and take a thoughtful, phased approach to meeting your business goals. And, of course, you ask all the right questions every step of the way. Or so you think. But what if you’re (unintentionally) building a mobility solution prone to fast failures – or at least riddled with challenges?

Let me explain....

For many, it may appear that there’s a clear cut process for designing a viable business mobility solution:

Rugged Tablet or Accessories First?

  1. Determine the business challenge(s) and goal(s).
  2. Decide which workflows to mobilize to improve business processes.
  3. Select the software needed to support full workflow mobility, secure share data, and sync with existing back office systems.
  4. Pick a highly durable (genuinely rugged) mobile PC that can deliver the right level of computing capabilities, connectivity, and mobility in support of those workflows – in the field, vehicle, and/or office.
  5. Invest in the right accessories to support and protect the mobile computing device, as well as the data it contains and the worker using it. This includes everything from the in-vehicle mounting/docking system and input devices like active pens and keyboards, to the carrying cases for in-field device transport and the desktop docking system for in-office use.

It’s pretty straightforward, right? Depending on whom you ask, that’s up for debate.

Some may say the inclination to select a rugged tablet first – and then hope you can find the right mounting design to support it in your forklift or patrol car – is all wrong. That it’s more logical to think about the accessories needed to support your workflows first...and then decide which mobile computers should be shortlisted. This group tends to argue that, despite conventional thinking, the above process is often flawed given today’s business mobility needs and, in and of itself, inefficient given the prevalence of more unconventional operating environments.

That’s why some suggest that the following process is much more appropriate (and effective):

  1. Determine the business challenge(s) and goal(s).
  2. Decide which workflows to mobilize to improve business processes.
  3. Select the software needed to support full workflow mobility and sync with existing back office systems.
  4. Find the in-vehicle mounting system and/or other applicable accessories that work within your specialized work environment so you can mobilize your business processes quickly and effectively
  5. Pick a highly durable (genuinely rugged) mobile PC that fits within your accessory solution design AND delivers the right level of computing capabilities, connectivity, and mobility in support of those workflows – in the field, vehicle, and/or office

So who is right and who is wrong? Well, technically, no one. Both processes are viable options – and both can be highly effective. Sometimes you’ll find that your rugged tablet selection can come first because you’ll have the flexibility to make everything else around it fit perfectly. And sometimes the most efficient way to engineer your mobility solution to your uniquely defined standards will be to “accessorize” first (i.e. define your mounting system requirements), then find the right rugged tablet to match. That’s why Xplore advocates for both as best practices, ensuring that customers ask the right questions as they deliberate which hardware, software, and accessory combo best serves their needs. It all depends on their (workplace) point of view, pain points, and mobility goals.

Curious about which process you should follow? Want to know which comes first in your organization’s mobility scenario: The chicken (rugged tablet) or the egg (accessories)? Tune in right here next week as I share tips for striking the right balance and coming to the right conclusion about much weight you need to give to your accessory decision – and when you need to consider your accessory options in the process.

Until then, be sure you RSVP for our upcoming webinar on August 30.

Intel’s Alan Rose and Xplore’s go-to mobility authority (and president of Durable Mobility Technologies, LLC) Bob Ashenbrenner share the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Mobile Computers.” They’ll guide you on your quest to find the right accessories and the right rugged tablet – and share some proven evaluation methods that can help you come to a conclusion about how much weight to give to your accessory needs, and when.

Goldilocks and the Three Mobile Computers:
Which Would She Say is “Just Right” for Your Field Service Environment?
Part of Xplore’s “Rugged or Risky?” Webinar Series
August 30 at 1pm ET / 12pm CT / 10am PT

Register for the Webinar Now